Read His Words Before Ours!
I can only imagine the disciples’ terror as the “high wind arose, and the sea began to churn.” (John 6:18)
When they set sail, the lake was calm, but in the darkness, far from shore, they were suddenly caught in a ferocious storm. As they battled against the wind and waves, they must have been in a desperate state. Perhaps they wondered if they would survive.
Have you ever been caught in a storm?
I’m fortunate to never have an experience like the disciples of being out in a boat in such a fierce storm, but I can certainly identify with their fear.
We all experience storms in life through challenges, disappointment, and suffering when life feels out of control just as it did for the disciples. We, too, can feel like we’re battered by the waves and desperately straining to find a way through the chaos back onto solid ground.
At moments like these, it’s very easy for circumstance and fear to overwhelm us.
Into the midst of the disciples’ fear and panic came a figure walking on water. I imagine this sight only deepened their terror until they heard the comforting call of a familiar voice, “It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (John 6:20)
The storm still raged as waves continued rolling, but Jesus invited His disciples into a space without fear. The tumultuous seas had not calmed, but Christ was present.
The Greek words translated “It is I,” in John 6:20 are “ego eimi,” which literally means, “I am.”
Don’t be afraid.
These words are reminiscent of Moses’ encounter recorded in the Old Testament. While he wasn’t caught in a physical storm, he was catapulted into a similar state of overwhelming fear. When God appeared to Moses in a burning bush, calling him away from his comforts to lead the Israelites to freedom from slavery in Egypt, Moses’ first response was, “I can’t.” (Exodus 4:13)
The reassurance God spoke to him was not to encourage Moses that he really had all the skills required within him to pull it off. Instead, the Lord God simply promised, “I will certainly be with you.” (Exodus 3:12)
Still unsure, Moses asked for God’s name; on whose authority could Moses point to when coming up against the rulers of Egypt. To which, “God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”” (Exodus 3:14)
I AM – two very small words with an incredibly powerful meaning.
I love the explanation provided by Compelling Truth:
“With this statement, God declared that He is self-existent, eternal, self-sufficient, self-directed, and unchanging. But this statement also declared that He is present.”
This truth was exactly what Moses needed to give him the courage to approach Pharaoh. This Name was precisely what the disciples needed in their boat on a stormy sea.
The storm didn’t need to cease, their faith needed an anchor in the all-powerful Name of the Great I Am.
For every storm we face, this truth remains for us, meeting us exactly where we are to provide precisely what we need, His presence.
If we have put our trust in Jesus, then the almighty, eternal God who created the universe, and holds all power over darkness is with us. We are secure in Him and nothing can snatch us from His hand. (John 10:28)
The more we get to know God and grasp this truth, the more we are changed.
Our circumstances may remain the same, but we are transformed.
Only a few short years after that night on the lake, the disciples displayed amazing courage and boldness in speaking out for Jesus. They were even willing to face death rather than renounce their faith in “I AM” or stop telling others of His mighty rescue of their souls. By this time, they had witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion as He took on the punishment each of us rightfully deserves because of our sin. They had seen Christ breathe His last, be buried, and then prove Death powerless as He was resurrected from the grave.
Because they knew Him more,
they trusted Him more.
They were willing to surrender their lives if required;
they knew He was worth it.
What about us?
Will we allow ourselves to be transformed as we come to know Him more?
We may not have a choice about our circumstances, but we do have a choice about where we place our trust.
Isaiah reminds us of the peace that’s possible if we can lift our eyes from our circumstances to gaze on God:
“You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. Trust in the Lord forever, because in the Lord, the Lord himself, is an everlasting rock!” (Isaiah 26:3-4)
Whatever challenges you’re facing, big or small, whether you’re caught in a storm like the disciples or facing a daunting task like Moses, may you know God is with you, and may you quiet yourself to hear Him speak:
“It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!